Trump’s walls just keep closing in.
Courtesy of Bloomberg:
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether anyone in the Trump Organization violated campaign-finance laws, in a follow-up to their conviction last month of Michael Cohen, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The inquiry, not previously reported, shows that the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office doesn’t intend to stand down following the guilty plea from Trump’s longtime personal lawyer. Manhattan prosecutors are working on a parallel track to U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with examining Russian interference in the presidential election and who is referring other matters as they arise to appropriate sections of the Justice Department.
The Trump Organization is a stable of private companies heavily invested in real estate that’s been run by the president’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, since he took office.
Central to the inquiry will be longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who has already provided narrow cooperation with authorities over Cohen’s activities and hush agreements, according to the person. It’s not clear whether Weisselberg is a focus of the continuing inquiry.
Remember how Trump warned investigators to leave his businesses out of this?
Well, now they are all up in his bidness.
But this is by no means the worst news that Trump received yesterday.
There was also this, also courtesy of Bloomberg:
Paul Manafort’s lawyers have talked to U.S. prosecutors about a possible guilty plea to avert a second criminal trial set to begin in Washington this month, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted of bank and tax fraud last month in a Virginia federal court. He’s accused in Washington of financial crimes including conspiring to launder money, as well as acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Ukraine and obstructing justice.
The negotiations over a potential plea deal have centered on which charges Manafort might admit and the length of the sentence to be recommended by prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the person familiar with the matter said. Manafort, 69, already faces as long as 10 years in prison under advisory sentencing guidelines in the Virginia case.
By pleading guilty, Manafort could avoid the risk of a longer prison term if he’s convicted at a second trial, as well as the threat of forfeiting several properties and financial accounts. He could also save the cost of paying lawyers to defend him at trial. Such white-collar criminal cases can cost defendants millions of dollars.
If Manafort’s lawyers can get him a good deal they might also be able to reduce his sentence from the first trial, but he would have to offer something significant in order to earn a get out of jail card like that.
And the thought of what he might be offering has got to be keeping Trump up at night even more than usual.
And since timing is everything, it should also be noted that as Manafort mulls over his options it was announced yesterday that George Papadopolous will essentially only get a slap on the wrist for his crimes.
Courtesy of Reuters:
George Papadopoulos, a former aide to then-Republican candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty last year to lying to federal agents investigating whether campaign members coordinated with Russia before the election.
Manafort is in far deeper than Papadopolous, but he also has more information of interest to the prosecutors, so he may see a light sentence like this as an incentive to spill his guts and throw himself on the mercy of the courts.
Whatever ends up happening with Manafort, I think we can rest assured that Trump is flipping out right about now.
I think this tweet I saw yesterday just about sums it up.
George Papadopoulos will be sentenced today. So, if you’re keeping score at home:
Trump’s Lawyer: Felon
Trump’s Campaign Chairman: Felon
Trump’s Deputy Campaign Chairman: Felon
Trump’s National Security Adviser: Felon
Trump’s Foreign Policy Adviser: Felon
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) September 7, 2018
Yep, Trump is about to go down in history as having the most convicted felons in his campaign and administration.